In many cases, you will be responding to a job ad you found on-line, in a newspaper, or on a community job board. A job ad is an invaluable source of information, and can help guide you as you craft a cover letter.
Remember, we need to be tailoring our cover letters for specific jobs. Generic cover letters just don't work. By responding appropriatly to job postings in your covering letters, you will increase your chances of being invited to interview for the desired position.
It is important to learn as much as possible about the job you are applying for. Use the research techniques outline on this website to learn more about the company and the job being posted. Are there particular qualities this company prides itself on – efficiency, good customer service, integrity? Get your details correct - make sure you have the correct spelling of the name of the person to whom you are sending the resume, as well as the correct name and address of the company.
Cover Letter Basics
A cover letter is a letter that:
- Goes along with and introduces the resume
- Demonstrates to the employer what makes you an ideal employee
- Helps the employer see how you meet their requirements for the job
Take the time to prepare a thoughtful and personable cover letter. If you have done your research about the company and the job, you will be able to speak directly to the kind of skills and qualities this employer is looking for.
Developing a model for a cover letter is really a part of the resume writing experience. Like your resume, the cover letter is never a finished document. Once you have a draft of a cover letter, the idea is to revise the cover letter each time you send it out. The cover letter is you talking directly to your potential employer.
A Working Centre Employment Counsellor can help you to craft a model for a cover letter, and can edit and proof ongoing cover letters in response to job postings.
Cover Letter Checklist
- Does it have your name, address and phone number?
- Does it show a current date?
- Is it addressed to a specific person?
- Does it state how you heard about the position?
- Is it visually appealing and easy to read?
- Is it just one page?
- Does it match the skills/qualifications listed in the ad?
- Does it highlight three or four of the key points mentioned in the ad?
- Is grammar correct with no typing errors?
- Does it give a clear picture of what you have to offer?
- Does it show that you have some knowledge of the company?
- Does it reflect something of who you are and how you will bring this to your next job?
Take a look at the following links for hand-outs and information that can guide you as you write a cover letter:
Use the Cover Letter Skills Worksheet and the information at
Using a Sample Job Ad to Write Your Cover Letter to write a cover letter using the